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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 56 / 185

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Timescape: History Plays and Isolation

50

Frank does take some hope, however, for he has finally raised enough money for

Lily to sail from England with their baby. Frank, in his last letter to Lily, has come to

terms with the fact that the realities of his homestead will never measure up to his

original dreams of his family’s own little Utopia in Saskatchewan. Of the farm, Frank

admits, “It’s not very grand, but it will gradually improve. Although I doubt that it will

ever have roses around the door. But I do have a cow for fresh milk. No peaches, I’m

afraid. It’s not much, but it’s the best I can do and it’s all for you, me, and little Charlie.”

Lily has named their baby Charlie, after Frank’s friend Charlie Baxter.

Unfortunately, Frank will never see his family home at the farm. By the time Lily

arrives in Saskatchewan, Frank has died. Charlie Baxter breaks the news to Lily that

Frank died two weeks before, of the flu. Isolation was deadly to Frank. Charlie explains:

“Being by himself, he didn’t have anyone to look after him.” Lily grimly resolves to go

to the farm. It is the only place she can go. The last line of the play is Lily’s, “Just take

us to our farm, Charlie.” This outcome fits the terms of Atwood’s straight-line-versus-

the-curve battle. Frank has battled Nature’s curve and won. He has imposed his straight

line, the farm, onto nature. But in doing so, he destroyed his own life-force. Frank’s

settlement succeeded. Frank did not. Lily and Charlie Jr. may make a success out of the

farm, but the listener is left with the sense that Lily would much rather have been poor in

England with Frank than alone on her farm in Canada.

Frank’s journey follows Frye’s archetypes of the tragic journey in several ways.

First, his decisions progressively isolate him from his community/human world. The

voyage from England to Winnipeg removed him from his home, family, and country.

But it was springtime, the season prevailing in Frye’s comic world, and Frank still had

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